Every so often we do family art night. It’s fun, the kids enjoy it, and we get free drawings to decorate our house with. Winning all around!
I will say painting is hard without practice. Just like this one I created tonight that was supposed to be black panther eyes. I knew how I wanted it to end up, but couldn’t get the paint to do what I wanted. Just makes one realize how good the professionals are.
I think reading is essential, and I want to pass on the love of it to my kids. Last year I had the idea of a new program in our household, every first day of the month I would buy them a new book, and it could be 100% their choice. I didn’t care if it’s the Very Hungry Caterpillar or an autobiography of Gandhi. Any book they want, I’ll buy it for them.
It gives us something to look forward to every month, and I think it’s pretty exciting seeing their choices. Right now, one is loving illustrated books, and the other is into fiction.
This month my oldest wanted the Hunger Games, so I got her the box set. I’m pretty sure that she is attempting to beat the system, but I’m not going to complain that it’s three instead of one.
The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger is about his business life. How he got his start, how he became CEO of Disney, and some of his thinking behind the purchases he made at Disney. During his tenure that was Pixar, Marvel, LucasFilm, and Fox.
The book is sort of a memoir, yet in the opening sentence he says its not. It’s a chronological narrative of his life. From early childhood and his family that is a catalyst for his beliefs all the way through being one of the most powerful CEO’s in the world. But beyond that the book is really a management and leadership book.
He covers some of the challenges he’s faced over the years, and how sticking to a few basic principles like honesty, integrity, and humbleness you can make it far.
What I find great about the book is Disney is a creative company and he gives specific differences on how to manage creative people which transitions well into software. Here is one paragraph on giving critiques that works for designers, developers, and pull requests:
“I never start out negatively, and unless we’re in the late stages of production, I never start small. I’ve found that often people will focus on little details as a way of masking a lack of any clear, coherent, big thoughts. If you start petty, you seem petty. And if the big picture is a mess, then the small things don’t matter anyway, and you shouldn’t spend time focusing on them.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and if you are in any management role, even if you manage open source software, it’s worth reading and seeing how you can take what works in one of the largest companies to managing a small project. No matter the size the same core values are the same.
If you’d like to get a copy it’s on Amazon for around $15 depending on what version (kindle, hardcover, paperback) you prefer.
We’ve all seen models of the solar system and they do a good job of representing the sun and the planets, but it’s hard to get a representation of the sheer vastness of space. If the moon were only 1 pixel by Josh Worth he creates a scale model using the moon as 1 pixel. It’s crazy how much scrolling is involved to reach the first planet, and be sure and click the light speed button in the bottom corner.
“Most space charts leave out the most significant part – all the space”, and now I’m tired of scrolling.
I just got this awesome old school Ebbets Field Flannels baseball hat from my buddy Joel Kuehn with his company logo on it. I love the early 1900’s feel to it and the style. Very memorable company swag that stands out.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss is excellent. One of the best books I read in the past year and it has tons of advice on negotiation that is applicable in many areas of your life. Everything from buying a new vehicle, to working with companies, to even negotiating salary.
One tip he shares related to salary is to never go first, but if you are cornered then only offer a range. Never share what you are making today. For example:
Interviewer: What are your salary expectations? You: At top places like X Corp., people in this job get between $130,000 and $170,000.
When doing a range like this the low number is more than likely what they will gravitate toward so be sure it’s a value you actually want.
This is just the surface of the book but I believe it’s one you should own and read. I’ve picked up so many tips for negotiating in life from it. Even persuading my kids to do want I want.
As I was blazing through my inbox, my first reaction to fire off a quick yes, but then just as I started to reply I noticed the “There” was capitalized. That threw up a flag to my brain, then as I thought for 10 seconds I came to the conclusion that no one with good faith would email this question. Instead, they would say you have a broken link on this page.
I deleted this email and didn’t reply, but they almost got me. Of course, now I’m going to spend all day wondering what the goal of this email actually was? Maybe they just wanted to see if the email address they sent it to was active. Who knows.
I’ve been a fan of the bullet journal method and been using it for a while. There is something oddly satisfying about looking at your past written notes versus being all digital. Here is a new way of doing the weekly spread that is still simple but gives it a little visual appearance.
Just before the holidays, I received an opensource donation from the nice folks at Algolia. They sent the money via Paypal and also included their office address. As a way of saying thank you, I wrote them a quick thank you letter, went to the post office and bought a global stamp (they are in Paris), and mailed it off. Then yesterday I woke up to this nice message on Twitter:
It took me all of about 30 minutes which included the trip to the post office to make this and I want to believe this stands out because no one takes the time to write a thank-you letter anymore. Instead, we’d rather use email, social media, text message, or a DM.
The next time someone does something nice for you, send them a thank you letter. It just might make their day memorable.
A few weeks ago Slack made a change to the app and added a new WYSIWYG toolbar. This alone didn’t bother me, but they also started doing weird things with markdown style code blocks using the three ticks. Thankfully they just announced you can turn this feature off. Just hit “Preferences -> Advanced -> Input Options” and then check the following option:
I’ve been watching the impeachment testimony every day and I’m thankful the Republicans pushed this to be a public hearing. I love watching it and I find the chess match between the two sides in this exhilarating. So far I’ve stayed away from talking-head commentary and only watched the proceedings through my own lens and I wanted to share my thoughts after Sondland’s testimony yesterday. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch the night session so I’m not sure if they had a lot of other new information.
In his opening statement, Sondland threw everyone under the bus and it was damaging to the defense. He said everyone knew what was going on from the POTUS, the VP, and down, and there was definitely a quid pro quo. It was a bombshell.
Really the only recourse the Republicans had was to discredit him and he’s had a lot of changing stories, so it shouldn’t have been very hard. However, I think the Republicans made a huge mistake when they didn’t allow him access to the transcripts of his calls and meetings. Yes, he should have taken notes, yes he changed his story, but for me holding these back had the reverse effect. It gave him more credibility and made them look weak.
In the end, none of this really matters. It will be a party-line vote and he will be impeached, then nothing will happen in the Senate. I think the same happened to Clinton if my memory is correct.People will scream about fairness, witch hunts, and moving goalposts, but it’s just noise. The impeachment has been decided and they have the votes.
His description of this was so perfect and I was nodding in agreement the whole time. I haven’t done a lot of night riding and I just did my first one of the season last week on trails that I know. It was a ton of fun, but not sure I’d be comfortable taking a beginner. Although, they would have some great stories from the adventure.
Someone I follow on social media shared a quote this morning and I disagreed with it.
Instead of quickly replying with my smart remark, I researched the quote, found the book it came from. Then, as luck would have it, I had a free Kindle credit so I bought the book and read the entire chapter to get the complete context. Now I agree with the quote.
I honestly don’t follow politics too closely, and I don’t know much about political science at all, but I found my local mayor race this year eye-opening.
The race came down to two men, the incumbent and the challenger. The challenger had signs on every street corner, he sent me 3 or 4 mailings, his name was everywhere.
I had a suspicion he was going to win handily based on signs alone. Yet, I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and the doctor and I started talking about it and he said that he heard they were spending all their money online.
That seemed pretty wild to me because to be honest my city isn’t the most tech-savvy. So I’m assuming it was all Facebook ads. I was actually very surprised to see the paper this morning and see that he won re-election.
If him moving to online to get out the vote really worked I have to say I’m impressed. My gut reaction was that would be a bad move on our small local level. Now I’d love to hear how it was really done and see if they just hired a firm to handle the online stuff or if something more grassroots.
It’s November which means it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. Every year I say I’m going to blog something everyday for the month of November since I’ll never write a novel.
Considering today is November 2nd and I didn’t publish anything here yesterday I’ve already failed, but I’m not going to let it deter me. I’m still going to try and publish something everything for the rest of the month. It could be anything from sharing links, to photos, to ideas.
If you’ve been wanting to start blogging more now is as good time as any. Hit publish with me.
I bought the original AirPods on a recommendation from someone I trust, and it’s one of the best purchases I made. Those little things are amazing and I’ve gotten so much use out of them. When I first heard that they are coming out with a “pro” version I ordered a set and they arrived this week.
The first thing I noticed was how awesome the noise canceling is. This is my first headphones ever to have this and it’s a game-changer. If I knew noise canceling was this good I would have bought a set of Bose or something else many years ago. I was literally sitting at my desk listening to music and didn’t hear my family come home. It wasn’t until one of my kids tapped me on the shoulder and scared me to death that I knew they were in the house.
The other neat feature is the transparency mode. It allows sound to pass through but it’s almost like a sound enhancement. You can hear better with that mode turned on than you can any other headphones I’ve used. I like to ride my mountain bike while listening to audiobooks, and this mode allows me to still hear things going on around me better than the original AirPods did. I’m impressed.
Now, yes these are expensive, you can’t replace the battery, and whatever else people are saying, and I’m not an audiophile. What I can’t say is that other headphones aren’t as good because I haven’t tried other brands of noise canceling. But after just a few days I’m confident in saying these are the best headphones I’ve ever owned.
If you do want to get a set, you can save about $14 ($234.99) buying from Amazon.
Identity is your distinguishing character or personality. If you want to be known as a cat person, talk about cats. Want to be known as someone to avoid, only talk about the negatives. Want to be known as a jerk, be a jerk. Want to inspire, encourage others.
Your identity is how others see you, but through your words and actions, you can control the narrative. Now the hard part is stepping outside yourself and figuring out how the world sees you.
Every Sunday I send out a newsletter and right now it’s at about 35,000 subscribers. It just so happens I made an embarrassing mistake in today’s issue:
When someone first brought it to my attention I tweeted about it thinking it was a funny mistake, and since then I’ve had hundreds of emails about it.
Now I could feel bad about myself and think about what an idiot I am, but instead I choose to look at it as a positive. I’m thankful I have this many people that read what I write each week. A lot of weeks I think I’m emailing into the void, but this proves how mistaken I am with that outlook.
What is also funny is Monday is another big day for people reading the newsletter so I’m going to bed tonight expecting many more emails.
I send a lot of emails through my various web properties. I’d say at least 200 to 300 thousand emails each month. With this many emails, the likelihood of me offending someone is pretty high, and when someone gets triggered, they sure let me know.
I’ve found that if they are from a different culture, they may not even be upset. I am just using the wrong words and phrases. To them, what they are saying is perfectly fine, but to me, it comes across as tactless and offensive.
Other times it’s just a misunderstanding, and very rarely is someone just straight up being a jerk. That does happen, though, and I always just hit “unsubscribe” in the email they are replying to and go on with my day.
Outside of those people, the way I handle these situations is to respond in good faith, thinking they meant well and are not intending to come across rude. So far giving the benefit of the doubt hasn’t let me down.